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I am asking this question because I have rarely seen this striking phenomenon addressed in other questions.

By "interaction "effects, I'm referring to the fact that if you buy a production building such as a small sugar mill, you get one victory point (VP) and if you buy the guild hall, you get 4 VPs, and 1+4=5 VP. But if you buy them both in tandem, you get the aforementioned 5 VPs, plus a bonus VP (the interaction effect), for a total of 6 VP. Likewise, if you buy a "violet" (non-production) building plus the city hall, you get (1-4) VPs "standalone" for each violet building, four for city hall, and one bonus VP for each violet building (the interaction term).

Do such synergies cause people to think, "I'm going to "max out" on production or violet buildings and buy the guild hall or city hall, respectively?" Or the reverse, I'm going to buy the guild hall/city hall ASAP and "max out on production/violet buildings afterwards? And would a production-oriented person who has bought a guild hall think, "My main opponent has a lot of violet VPs, so I'd better buy city hall before he does to deprive him/her of those "interaction" VP's even though city hall is worth only 4 VPs to me?"

Or are there better uses for your resources than the ones I've described above?

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A builder strategy will most likely prefer the Guild Hall over any other big building in the base game. The reason for this, is that it can get you 6 bonus points (+4 initial) for the cheapest investment in buildings (I.e. all the production buildings are at the top of the buildings board and are the cheapest with 1/2/3 quarries (a 1:1 ratio for coins to VP is very good). A builder will buy the GH usually only after a factory or other income flow is setup, and they are usually in a better place to purchase a B.Bldg. than shippers. City Hall is always worth 5+ –  user1873 Oct 13 '13 at 20:41
    
I'm having trouble understanding the question. Are you asking if people strategize about buildings, choosing the big buildings that fit best with their other purchases? –  Monica Cellio Dec 25 '13 at 17:15
    
@MonicaCellio: I'm referring to the back that you score 4 VP for owning building X and 1 VP for owning building Y in isolation, for a total of five; but if you already own building Y, you get five points for building X (this includes a bonus point for building Y) for a total of 6. This is what I call the "interaction effect, which I consider a key part of PR. Apparently few other people take this into account, at least explicitly. I believe it's at the heart of this question boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/2202/… –  Tom Au Dec 25 '13 at 19:39
    
Huh, odd -- I consider the combination of big buildings + other buildings to be a key part of strategy and I'm only a midling player. –  Monica Cellio Dec 25 '13 at 19:48
    
@MonicaCellio: In the answer to this question, boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/4093/…, the answerer wrote: "The question is not what buildings have good synergy with each other. The question is what buildings have good synergies with your particular strategy." I say "each other" is a very important effect in and of itself. You seem to be more clear-headed than most. I have read that Artificial Intelligence (AI) players are more likely to adopt building strategies than human players, perhaps because they understand this better. –  Tom Au Dec 26 '13 at 14:44
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I don't think you can just sit down with a strategy as precise as knowing your end buildings and stay competitive against a more flexible player. The game does not have a lot of randomness but the distribution of plantations does play a huge role on the rest of the game.

It's well balanced in the sense that if you are too out of control in one dimension then you are not giving the other dimensions enough attention and the other players should be able to exploit that. Once you have a competitive advantage then by all means exploit it, but like most Euro games you should probably spend the first half building an engine and the second half running after VPs.

All that said, your engine will probably be built around selling, shipping, or building and each of them has big buildings which work best with them. The wharf and/or harbor can be more powerful than one of those big buildings if used well.

In terms of defensive buying you have to decide if the person you are targeting is ahead of you and if you are in second by a wide margin. The VP cost of the defensive purchase is the marginal difference in VPs between your ideal purchase and the one you are considering.

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